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Survival in America

Home Up Family Group Sheet Photo Album Wills Books by Nolands Noland Descendants

If you had to leave your home and go to a completely strange land that was 95% undeveloped with inhabitants that had learned to resent and fear you . . . and you were limited to the bare necessities because of a lack of storage space and money, what would you take with you?

When our ancestors first came to America, they were faced with that problem and they had a great deal fewer choices of items to sustain them than we would have today.

Here is a list of items that was required as the absolute barest necessities that a person should have to survive in this new land as it was posted back in the late 1600's by Lord Baltimore.  He was trying to entice new settlers and would give them free land if they would come to Maryland with the following equipment.

bulletFOOD  Meal, oatmeal, peas, oil, vinegar, aqua vitae, salt, sugar, spice and fruit.
bulletAPPAREL  Caps or hats, collars, three shirts, one waistcoat, two suits of canvas, one suit of Frize, one coarse cloth coat, three pairs of stockings, five pairs of shoes and broad tape of garters.
bulletBEDDING  Two pairs of sheets, canvas and a rug.
bulletTOOLS  Broad hoes, narrow hoes, broad axes, felling axes, nails, steel handsaws, pick ax, whipsaw, hammer, shovel, spade, augers, chisels, piercers, gimlet, hatchets, and a grindsaw.
bulletARMS  One musket, ten pounds of powder, 40 pounds of lead, one sword, one belt and one flask.
bulletHOUSEHOLD GOODS  iron pots, gridirons, kettles, skillets, platters, frying pan, spits, spoons and dishes. 

The value of these items in 1670 was about 20 English pounds.  That was a lot of money in those days and many of the early settlers were forced to make do with much less than the articles mentioned above.  Most of the items were manufactured products and since there was virtually no manufacturing facilities in the new country at that time, if the new arrivals wanted to wear warm clothes, use tools or cook food, those items had to come with them.

There was great stress put upon bringing tools to help clear the land, build houses, make the basic furniture to go in them such as tables, chairs, beds, etc., and to plant the crops once the land was cleared.  The ones that survived were indeed a hardy breed!